Wednesday, September 20, 2017

SLEX workers protest mass termination

Scores of toll employees of SLEX together and their supporters are holding a protest this afternoon in Laguna. The National Mediation and Conciliation Board regional office in Laguna is convening a hearing today due to workers of complaint of illegal dismissal.

Some 90 employees of the San Miguel Corp.-owned Manila Toll Expressway System, Inc. (MATES) are to be terminated en masse this month but are to be transferred to an outsourcing agency called PITC. Workers are alleging that the the scheme is a union busting and job contractualization manuever.

Randy Tuason, a leader of the MATES workers, declared that "We are demanding that workers be absorbed as regular employees in PITC and that the union also be recognized. It is utterly unfair to be demoted as probationary employees in an agency when we have worked as toll employees for years already."

The affected employees work the tolls from Alabang to Calamba, Laguna and onto Sto. Tomas, Batangas. A union was formed and certified as a bargaining agent just a few months ago.

In the first mediation hearing last week, no agreement was reached. MATES-SLEX said that they will consider the demand of the workers for absorption as regular employees. Workers also picketed the mediation hearing.

Rene Magtubo, chair of the militant group Partido Manggagawa, which is assisting the MATES workers, said that “Ending endo was supposed to be a policy shift of this administration. President Duterte kept repeating in dialogues with labor leaders that he wants to stop the prevalent practice of workers being transferred to agencies instead being hired as regular workers in principal companies. So why is this being allowed at SLEX?”

“If this is allowed at MATES-SLEX then it will be followed in other toll roads. Instead of toll payment interconnection as announced a few days ago, we will have rampant contractualization in the expressways. We call on the DOLE to intervene in this issue,” he added.

Photos of SLEX workers picket last week can be accessed here:

September 20, 2017

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